The chance to become an international student is one that I think many people love. Personally, many of my friends have talked about doing a semester in another country, and it’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was in High School. But international students are more important in our society than just for their own experiences. International students help to represent their country, allow us to understand global issues, and when in the workforce, they have a further understanding of cultural differences and negotiations.
There are many issues with international students however, and most of them originate from people in the countries they are studying in. People exploit students in housing and employment, and take advantage of their lower knowledge of the law to earn some more money. I think this is pretty disgusting, the lengths that some people will go, to earn and take advantage of some demographics, which are certainly not limited to international students.
One of the main issues however, is the crime and violence against certain international students because of their cultural background and ethnicity. In 2009, there were 152 attacks on Indian students alone, and many more racial abuses in the same year. Over 120,000 Indian’s enrolled into Australia’s education system in 2009, and it remains as one of Australia’s highest source of international students.
The Indian media reacted to this by saturating the media with out of proportion accounts of what is actually happening. There was even a report of an Indian journalist being attacked, which neglected to mention that the attacker was also Indian. I think this highlights not the Indian attitude on Australian’s, but rather the media’s perspective of them.
A journalist names Andrew Marantz wrote an article about how she was taught, while working at a phone company, about how ‘stupid’ Australia is, and that they over exaggerated into the Australian stereotype. He stated how shocked he was at “the extent Indian stereotyping of Australian’s”. I think this highlights that the small, but blown out of proportion, racism comes from both countries, and while they are both terrible, neither can be held more accountable than the other.
Following these events, the amount of Indian international students in Australia dropped by as far as 46% each year, and it’s expected to drop even more. Racism is a large issue with any international student, and while certain countries and ethnicities are highlighted more than others, every country is guilty of it, and I personally don’t think we will see a decrease in racism until there is a lowered concept of nationalism and cultural ignorance. Australia is built on it’s cultural diversity, yet it’s seen, and arguably is, one of the most racist countries in the world.